“Am I coming off a little too strong?”
Chances are you could be.
I was talking to a friend who is also a writer/blogger. He posted an article on a popular, over-hyped anime that recently aired last fall about some male superhero that can destroy bad guys with one punch. Or at least, that’s the premise I heard from other third-party viewers. Anyways, he was talking to me about the mixed reactions his review got. He was fully aware that his article will get this type of reader reaction. However, the negative comments he got kind of made him question whether he should change his style of writing. He doesn’t want his writing to project him as a “douchebag know-it-all” but at the same time, he wants his criticisms to be heard. I have nothing against his style of writing. I kind of wished I was able to voice my opinions the way he does, but my style doesn’t function that way. Yet, I know him. So my opinion seems a bit bias as oppose to a complete stranger who is just reading his work. I gave him some honest advice: maybe lessen the amount of profanity usage and try to tone down the offensive comments. He listened and I think he is taking my advice into consideration as he writes now.
You may be wondering where I’m going with this, and where I’m going is tone. The voice you use in your writing presents itself as the type of character or image you want others to see you as on the internet. (I’m using the term, “see” figuratively.) When we read a book, we tend to use our imagination to describe the characters on the page. The same concept is applied to blogging. As a fellow blogger, I tend to put a face on the post. We try to visualize the type of person that is writing these posts and thus, we create his or her persona. Yet the character we create may not be the accurate image that the author is truly trying to convey.
Now as bloggers, we have the power to choose the words we want to say on our blogs and with our words, we try to steer our readers into a certain direction, into a certain view of how they should see the writer as. By commenting on other people’s posts, we try to do the same thing, bringing in our opinions and personality into our comments and having the audience—specifically the author of the site—read it and try to understand our perspective, whether it is good or bad.
We are all entitled to have an opinion, but it is how we present our opinions in words that give the reader their impression of us. You can troll which can make you annoying, funny, or just plain rude to someone. You can give positive and optimistic feedback on a person’s writing which makes you more likable to others. Or you can just give a seriously boring response that doesn’t mean much and the reader will most likely ignore. It is all up to you on how you want to build your internet persona, but that doesn’t mean people will see you that way.
The words you put on a post or comment convey a tone that helps the reader visualize the type of person you are. Now the great thing about the internet is that you can lie about yourself and people won’t know because they don’t know the real you in person. Yet the downside to that is once your internet persona is created it takes a long time to change how people view you on here or it can’t be undone. So if you are happy with the way people see you on the internet, then that’s all cool and dandy. Yet if you feel at times your words could be misinterpreted, maybe you should consider revising your words and tone.
If you assume that no one else besides the writer reads your comments, you are mistaken. People do read your posts and comments outside of this WordPress community. Also, sometimes, your comment decides whether these new readers may want to come visit your own blog or not. If you sound like a jerk, readers may not want to visit your site or they would visit, but they won’t take your words seriously (unless that’s your intention). I know that we all want to be straightforward and honest when commenting, but if your word choice makes you sound like an elitist, I think it does more damage than good for you.
Personally, I tend to give positive and neutral comments. And if I don’t agree with what someone said, I would respect and acknowledge the writer’s perspective, but I will also provide my input on the subject if I feel like it (sometimes I just don’t say anything). I try to be as humble as I can with my responses on here and social media.
So coming back to the question, “Am I coming off a little too strong?” From time to time, maybe you should ask yourself that. I do because I don’t want to sound too overbearing and rude. If you are comfortable with how your tone is and don’t mind how your words are interpreted by people, good for you. Yet if you are unsure, maybe reread what you write and see if it does sound a bit “too strong” from a reader’s perspective and consider rewriting it.